Havells fans new ad fouls the air: Withdraw it!


Read the reactions to the new, disgusting Havells Fans' television commercial (featured below) on social media, compiled by Vinay Shende. Go ahead and read. But first file a complaint against the advertisement with the Advertising Standards Council of India as directed in the first update - Round Table India

Vinay Shende

Appealing to all Bahujans to file online complaint against the latest Havell's ad. I have done so already. I mentioned that this is against the Directives of the Constitution (Sec 16). We cannot have Anti-Constitutional ads going on and they need to be opposed. If anyone is unable to do it, do get in touch with me.
A few things that are being shown incorrectly in the Television commercial are:

1. Availing Reservations is a crime/favour;
2. People wearing Blue Bandanas (indicating Ambedkarites) indulge in violence/protests;
3. People in Blue Burn Books. It would have been better if the Burnt book was shown as the Manusmriti.
It is also implying that people should not avail Reservation.


Interim Report of the Independent National Fact Finding Team on UoH


Title of the Case: Interim Report of the Independent National Fact Finding (FF) team into the Campus Violence on 22nd March, 2016 at the Hyderabad Central University

Date of the Fact Finding: March 24th - 25th 2016

uoh protest 5

Members of the Fact Finding Team:

Henri Tiphagne, Human Rights Defenders Alert, India, Tara Rao, Amnesty Intl, Burnard Fatima, International Movement against all forms of Discrimination and Racism, Kuffir Nalgundwar, Round Table India, Kiruba Munusamy, Supreme Court Lawyer, Beena Pallical, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, Ramesh Nathan, National Dalit Movement for Justice, Asha Kowtal, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, Paul Divakar, Asia Dalit Rights Forum

Mandate of the Fact Finding Team:

 1. To ascertain and understand the sequence of events that led to the escalation of violence on the 22nd of March at Hyderabad Central University (HCU).
2. To identify the human rights violations that transpired as a result of the events.
3. To contribute towards a restoration of normalcy, peace and an environment of non-discrimination in the University Campus by making key recommendations to the concerned parties – the University Administration, the Central Government, the State Government and University Students and Faculty.

The team comprising of senior activists, academicians and lawyers have met with the students, faculty members, the police, the Home Minister and local civil society organisations. The team will be presenting a more detailed report at a later date based on the compiled narratives and testimonies. This team was constituted as a response to the terrifying news of the escalation of violence at HCU on March 22, 2016.


Police Broke All Laws to Arrest Students, Teachers in University of Hyderabad


Justice For Rohith

This is a transcript of lawyer Gunratan's brief talk as he updates UoH students after returning from the court on March 24th. He is part of the team working on the fictitious cases made on students and faculty of UoH. This video is part of the narratives recorded by Justice For Rohith youtube channel. 

....I am also a faculty member from an Institute in Kolkata, but I am involved in legal matters of people who are victims of state repression. I had also come over here when Ambedkar Students Association including Rohith and all were here. I was here in the campus at that time, and after this happened the day before yesterday, I came today morning. So, basically the legal situation is that there are three FIRs which have been filed. One is by the police, the other is by the Registrar of the university, these are two cases, one is 113, and the other is 114. And the police have also revived another FIR which is case number 22, which was filed on the night of the death of Rohith Vemula.


An Undeclared Emergency At University of Hyderabad

Vaikhari Aryat

SAVARI strongly condemns the police brutality on students and faculty, which included verbal threats of rape hurled at women students; the profiling of politically active students and the unpardonable ongoing acts of depriving access to food, water and communication. Hostel students have the additional burden of keeping their parents and families assured of their safety, we demand that this violent and disgraceful situation be immediately diffused and restore the democratic rights of the students and faculty of UoH.

hcu girls

This is a compilation of Vaikhari Aryat’s updates on the atrocious situation unfolding in UoH since yesterday. She is a research scholar at UoH, and is trying hard to get information out to the world about the extremely vulnerable situation the students have been forced into:

Just got news that those students who were busy with community cooking at North campus shop com got arrested by police! Police says it is a public place and we can’t cook there! About 51 students are arrested and counting! Looks like whoever walks into shop com gets arrested now! University has also blocked SBH debit cards issued by university along with food, water, electricity and internet! They are turning us prisoners inside our very own campus! This is no more a university campus! This is a Nazi camp!

Is anyone out there listening? Or are you guys waiting for our dead bodies to extend solidarity?


The ‘Nation’ at War with the Students

N. Sukumar and Shailaja Menon

"The backward classes have come to realize that after all education is the greatest material benefit for which they can fight. We may forego material benefits, we may forego material benefits of civilization, but we cannot forego our right and opportunities to reap the benefit of the highest education to the fullest extent. That the importance of this question from the point of view of the backward classes who have just realized that without education their existence is not safe" ~ Dr. B. R. Ambedkar1

On 17th January 2016, Rohith Vemula, the research scholar at UoH committed suicide hounded by the insensitive university administration to the HRD ministry. It is indeed intriguing that an array of forces considered an ordinary research scholar a threat to their entrenched interests. Rohith's erudition inspired the ASA. Though originally conceived as an organization to champion the cause of Dalit students who gate-crashed the abode of 'Saraswathi', gradually, it built a coalition comprising the dalits, Muslims, tribals and students of the North East on campus. This enabled the ASA to successfully challenge the hegemonic brahmanical discourse prevailing on the campus. The ideological opponents of the ASA, the ABVP, finally had to resort to political bullying that ultimately led to the silencing of Rohith.

nudhin brahmin over nation

In order to salvage the situation, many narratives emerged- questioning the caste identity of Rohith, attempts to create fissures among the protestors, the police action in JNU on cooked up charges of sedition. The icing on the cake was the melodrama witnessed in parliament where the honorable HRD minister Smriti Irani, infantilized Rohith and mounted a passionate cover-up of her ministry's misdeeds. In the entire drama, the VC of UoH Appa Rao Podile had gone underground. Apparently, his political masters would have advised him to lie low till the storm blows over. On March 22nd, he emerged out of hiding to rejoin the university as VC. Public memory is undoubtedly fickle and Appa Rao can be excused for thinking that all is well. After all, his bosses had meticulously planned his comeback, aided by the stooges on campus.2 Various tasks (list available on social media) were earmarked for faculty, non-teaching and only Life Sciences students to organize a grand welcome for the VC.


What's happening in University of Hyderabad now


Round Table India

An unprecedented crisis situation is being faced by students of UoH with hostel messes being shut down apart from strictly enforced no-entry for media, political groups and external student organizations (see circular). Updates reaching the social media and through phone conversations have confirmed that Internet has been blocked, and access to water and food made unavailable in hostels.

The scale of denial of basic rights by this kind of siege is massive, as HCU campus has around 20 plus hostels housing around 5000 students.

hcu 1  hcu2




What happened in University of Hyderabad yesterday


Amar Khade

The Chronology of the events that took place at University of Hyderabad on 22-03-2016

Date: 22-03-2016

Time: 08.40 am

Registrar's Office, University of Hyderabad notifies "Prof.Appa Rao Podile, Vice-Chancellor, resumed the charge in the Forenoon of March 22, 2016" on the website of the University of Hyderabad.

registrars notice

Time: 09.00 am

The news of Prof.Appa Rao Podile resuming his post of V-C spreads in the social media network and then the student fraternity and the JAC start to convey message to their fellows to protest in front of the VC's official residence. There was also message circulated that Prof.Appa Rao Podile was going to have a press conference at 11.30 am.

Time: 10.00 am

There was no internet access from the servers of University of Hyderabad. Students were not able to connect to internet via the WI-FI and other networks of University of Hyderabad. There was complete "Internet Access" blackout from 10 am onwards.


‘Lal Salaam aur Nila Salaam’: A call for new pathways to social movement


Suhas Bhasme

suhas bhasmeComrade Kanhaiya's last words in the speech given at JNU before he was arrested under the sedition act were 'Lal Salaam aur Nila Salaam'. The slogan denotes a significant ideological shift that the country has been witnessing in the last few years and in particular, the last few months, after the incident of Rohith Vemula's death in the University of Hyderabad campus. The slogan refers to the prolonged joint struggle by all the marginalised communities: workers; Dalits; women; religious, as well as sexual minorities- and urges them to stand against the oppressive economic regime of the dominant political parties in the country. The political position taken by Kanhaiya in his speech denotes the diversity and eagerness of JNU campus student politics to be open, promoting discussion and accommodative in addressing the need of the hour. It represents the fact that the campus, mostly known as a bastion of left and partially left politics, has been able to make an ideological shift during the time of crises to strengthen the struggle against the communal and fascist forces endangering the democratic rights of the individuals concerned.

However, one needs to understand that the revolutionary stance taken by the student movement is largely an outcome of a prolonged interaction and engagement, carried out between and dominated by the parties on the left and other students' cultural outfits representing the voices of the marginalised communities on the campus. The popular perception of JNU campus is that of a 'leftist bastion', producing some of the most important leaders in the left parties. However, a close observation of its student politics reveals the significance of numerous initiatives taken by the students belonging to marginalised communities to extend the debate on inequality and exploitation beyond the dominant thinking of class inequalities in society. The JNU campus had a significant history of Dalit students movements, the formation of a cultural forum in the 90s that still represents the voices of the marginalised students, who mostly belong to SC & ST communities. The cultural forum is the outcome of the larger changes happening in Indian politics, such as the emergence of identity politics and the continuation of numerous incidences of violence, such as the massacre of eight Dalits in Tsunduru in Andhra Pradesh, and others which had taken place in most parts of the country.


Rohith Vemula: The antecedents and aftermaths of his institutional murder


Syamprasad KV


The demise of Rohith Vemula and his poetic suicide note made history, and they continue to disturb our minds. As an Indian citizen, as a member of a Bahujan community, as a research student, I am obliged to express my deepest condolences over his demise and to protest against the university authorities and the state: both were equally responsible for the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, who hanged himself in the university accommodation on the 17th of January 2016. This article does not seek to unequivocally explain Hindutva politics as the root cause behind Rohith's suicide, considering the fact that Rohith's case is nothing new: he is a victim of ongoing caste discrimination in the Indian universities in general and the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) in particular. Higher education centers in India were historically Brahminical, causing Dalit students to face ill-treatment, harassment and discrimination from tutors and fellow students (Rege, 2010). As per the report of Hindustan Times (2016), "Members of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) claim that as many as 12 students belonging to scheduled castes have ended their lives since the central university came into existence in the early 1970s, largely due to caste prejudices that many say are omnipresent".

Rohith's case is just one example of persistent caste discrimination since time-immemorial. However, the antecedents and aftermaths of Rohith's institutional murder cannot be explored without taking into account his struggles against the politics of Hindutva. Rohith left us with many issues differently from the other cases of suicide: his explicit and radical reactions to Hindutva forces, imposition of Brahminical values and caste discrimination on the HCU campus; his pro-Muslim steps and alliance with Muslim organizations. These factors need to be critically discussed in connection with the antecedents and aftermaths of his institutional murder. The ministry under the BJP government tried its 'best' to force the university to take disciplinary measures against Rohith. The ministry now continues to obfuscate the actual socio-political causes of Rohith's suicide, reducing them to individual levels. I am sure that no ministry will ever dare to perpetrate such violence in the same way as the BJP ministry, especially when dealing with sensitive issues like caste.


Bloody untouchable: Stories of an assertive Ambedkarite Dalit - Part 1


Swapnil Jadhav

swapnil jadhavPolitical tyranny is nothing compared to the social tyranny and a reformer who defies society is a more courageous man than a politician who defies Government.
~ Dr. Bhimrao. R. Ambedkar

The Rohith Vemula institutional murder which grabbed headlines in the last two months made me sit and write. I will be writing more about my personal experiences as a Dalit living in an upper caste dominated place, and studying in elite colleges where Brahmins and Banias are over-represented and consider the presence of Dalits as hurting 'their' colleges in the future. Where even the Dalits and OBCs studying in such colleges are Brahmanized, akin to a Brahmin soul living in a Dalit body. To whom SC/ST is a just a certificate to be taken out to get admission and then hidden again.

I was born into a Marathi-Dalit-Buddhist-Ambedkarite family. My parents always dreamt big for me and wanted me to get all the three degrees (BTech, MTech and PhD) from IIT B. They wanted me to become IIT B Director – director of the place where my father worked as a peon (class 4) worker all his life.

I was always a bright and sincere kid since childhood. This used to make my parents proud. But at home, my mother used to be ill most of the time. When I was in 12th she was hospitalized due to a rare tuberculosis and doctors diagnosed that she might not survive. She was put on very heavy dosages of drugs and had emaciated beyond recognition. I managed to get 82% in my 12th board exams and cracked IIT JEE screening (i.e. was among the 19,000 selected to give main JEE from the 4 lakh candidates) - both without any coaching.


Why is Rohith Act Necessary?


Jadumani Mahanand

jadumanillionBeing born in an untouchable family, my life begins with multiple layers of discrimination - the degree of imposition in terms of discrimination, humiliation, oppression and exploitation make me an outsider within. All the worth of my individuality disappears or is abjected, and I continue to remain 'undeserving' to the world - even if democracy chooses me as head of the state. Let's examine how this can happen in a democracy.

In a Republic, political democracy gives opportunity to each of its citizens to exercise their political rights in terms of 'freedom and equality'. But this very fundamental principle is being curtailed because of an ideological apparatus (Brahminism vis-a-vis Hinduism and capitalism). This ideological apparatus has been maintained very aggressively in the political democracy. In this context, Brahminism is an antagonist to equality and freedom, and it forcefully perpetuates the systemic discrimination, violence and killing of those who are opposed to it (Dalits), in order to retain its hegemony. Rohith Vemula's death is an example of this disease which has affected the functioning of political democracy.

Rohith's murder poses serious questions to Indian democratic institutions in general and higher educational institutions in particular. According to the Indian constitution, higher educational institutions are supposed to be democratic and egalitarian in nature. On the contrary, all educational institutions continue to diffuse caste discrimination and Brahminism in every sphere of academic life - starting from Mid-day meals and classrooms of primary schools, to seminar halls, classrooms, PhD research laboratories and libraries of universities. There is not a single educational institution in India, which is free from caste discrimination, exclusion and expulsion. Therefore, it is necessary to question this. Do Indian teachers practice the principles of morality according to Indian constitution? If this was the case, then we would not have witnessed the exclusion and discrimination faced by Dalit students in various educational institutions. One should no longer claim to be surprised to see the manifestations of invisible caste prejudices in these institutions, after witnessing Rohith Vemula's institutional murder. How moral are Indian educational institutions?


Who are we dissenting for?


Nilesh Kumar

nilesh jnuRecent controversy over the issue of sloganeering by a few Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students has brought to light the role of the university in the wider arena of knowledge production that shapes the politics of society and its path of evolution. Make no mistake, as a former student of the university, I have deep attachment to this institution on a personal level, but that should not impact my understanding and experiences of the tangibility and relevance of what passes as intellectual, pro-poor discourses that university as a whole has been world renowned for.

JNU should not be homogenised, let's just for the sake of argument divide it between two groups: one consisting teaching staff and other comprising of the student community. Both have their own fallacies but my main problem is the role that knowledge produced by many constituent centres of excellences of the university plays in society, which more often than not is considered anti-establishment. But a careful look will make you wonder, quite ironically, about the status quoist nature of the university. Not because of the large number of civil servants that it produces but because of the modern mechanism of appropriation of social movements and legitimacy derived from JNU which kills any alternative explanation of society, both past and the present.

The dalit discourse [let's call it anti-caste discourse hereafter, because reducing it to dalit is key to all the problems it generates] which emphasizes the primary location of caste and its role in understanding Indian society is almost completely disregarded in post-british arrival. And having been affiliated with the Centre for Historical Studies, my experiences with the study of the Indian past, which should have enabled me to gain a clearer understanding of the present, is distorted. No one can doubt the benefits of Buddhist sources providing an alternative to Brahmanical sources thus playing substantiating role in understanding ancient Indian institutions and themes that leads to explorations by researches. Similarly medieval historians have at their disposal Arabic, Persian, and early Portuguese, Dutch and English records, which for comparative studies are proving exemplary.


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